The result is an animated short film titled “The Spirit of Christmas“, also know as “Jesus vs. Frosty“. Three years later, in 1995, Fox executive Brian Graden pays Stone and Parker $1,000 to make another animated short as a video Christmas card. Armed with a new batch of construction paper and glue, they create another animated “The Spirit of Christmas” short, “Jesus vs. Santa“.
“Jesus vs. Santa” makes its way around the internet before it eventually catches the attention of the American cable network Comedy Central. They hire Matt and Trey to develop the South Park series, which premieres in the United States with “Cartman Gets an Anal Probe” on August 13, 1997.
Like the two “The Spirit of Christmas” shorts, South Park’s debut episode is animated using traditional cut paper stop motion animation techniques: The 22 minute long episode took between three and three and a half months to complete. The initial reviews are negative, both at home and abroad, and most focus on the low, obscene comedy.
“Sophomoric, gross, and unfunny.” — Hal Boedeker, Orlando Sentinel on “Cartman Gets an Anal Probe”.
But from the bad reviews grow a dedicated flock of followers who managed to see South Park for what it really is: Intelligent, dark, adult satire with the occasional over-the-top dick joke crammed in for shits and giggles1.